Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 19, 2013

Positive painting

By Kaley Lynch
Union-Sun & Journal

NIAGARA FALLS —

A Lockport artist has been helping students in Niagara County unleash their creativity and learn something about art along the way. Alec Maslowski, of Market Street’s “Rockin’ Arts” has partnered with NCCC’s Liberty Partnerships Program to bring hands-on art experiences to students.

Working with students on the projects helps build their confidence, Maslowski said.

You don’t have to be naturally artistic to get something out of these activities,” Maslowski said, “Getting a chance to create something is a great experience for kids.”

In the spring, Maslowski worked with students at North Park Junior High and Gaskill Preparatory in Niagara Falls for one-day workshops on color, texture, and shapes. The students created paintings that day which were showcased in a Market Street art show in June.

This summer, Maslowski worked with Liberty students at residential summer camps, doing a photography class. Students learned to capture landscape photography, and two campers had their shots chosen for the “Kids with Cameras: Through Their Eyes” exhibition in Buffalo.

Currently, Maslowski is giving Liberty students lessons in preparation for a new project — The Liberty Silhouettes. Students will create murals to beautify parts of Niagara County with silhouettes painted and designed in their own way. The vision is to create a reminder of the importance of youth and future generations, Maslowski said. “There’s a lot of areas in Niagara County that could use some sprucing up, and what better way than using student creations.”

The Liberty Partnerships Program is a New York State Department of Education funded pre-collegiate program designed to give “at-risk” students in Niagara County the tools they need to succeed. The program services 300 students in Niagara Falls, Lockport, and North Tonawanda in grades 5-12.

Monica Ridgeway, director of the Liberty Partnerships Program, said that participating in the projects has been beneficial to Liberty scholars. “We want our students to become active members in the community and have fun while doing it,” Ridgeway said. “To be able to combine education, community service, and leadership truly encompasses what we strive for in Liberty.”

Participating in the “Rockin’ Arts” program is voluntary for Liberty students. Along with art instruction, Maslowski has students play creative games and do various activities.

Maslowski got his start working with students while volunteering at Roy B. Kelley and Washington Hunt schools teaching artistic activities. He teaches his “Rockin’ Arts” children’s program out of his Market Street studio in the summer. The father of three is also the owner and primary photographer at AJ Photo Graphics and is a commissioned illustrator, as well as an instructor of continuing education digital photography classes at the Dale Association and NCCC.